Florence, hailstorms and motor vehicle accidents

*So, yeah, the wifi once we reached Italy and Greece was just not good enough for posting pics, to Facebook or to the blog, so these posts were written on the trip and are being posted retrospectively here.  Apologies, but it was the best I could do!*

So, after Venice we headed to Florence, with a stop over in Pisa, to see its famous leaning tower. 

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Pisa was incredibly hot, and the town is basically just to support the tower and the two other buildings, so we all rushed in the heat to get our “Pisa” selfies, which was fun, and it was also funny to see all the failed attempts and people trying to get pics 😉 I mentioned before we had a contest for the best pic, which was won by a guy who managed to get a picture with a dildo on his head touching the tower – don’t ask why he has a dildo, he promised his friends he’d take pics with it, so that’s been…interesting 😉

After Pisa we got back on the bus and headed up to our campsite in the Tuscan hills. It was a pretty drive:
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Full of really pretty hills and villages, but it was another long one and we were all pretty ready to get off the bus. That night there was the option to go into town for karaoke at a bar, but that is incredibly not my thing, so I hung back and chilled at the campsite.
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The next morning we got up and headed into Florence for the day. We started with a leather demonstration at a place called Leonardo’s, where I bought a small purse and a Florentian puzzle ring.
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The ring has a cool story to it – apparently a king of Florence had it made for his wife, so that if she took the ring off to cheat on him she wouldn’t be able to put it back together and he’d know she’d cheated.
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Trusting guy, that king 😉
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After the leather factory we did a walking tour of Florence where we saw the famous Florence bridge – the Ponte Vecchio:
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The Piazza della Signoria:
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IMG_0641 (replica)
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Also, some amazing gelato 😉
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The Duomo and the Baptistry (under reconstruction):
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And Giotto’s bell tower:
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Then after the tour we had some free time to eat and explore, so me and a few others went to a restaurant where I had the most amazing carbonara:
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And then we went to the Academia Museum to see Michellango’s David, which is massive and a really amazing sight!
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After that I went and climbed the 414 stairs of the bell tower, and let me tell you in that heat it was not easy! The staircase is so narrow, and its the up and down stairs so you’re pushed sideways to left people by, and it practically gave me claustrophobia on top of heatstroke! The view was pretty cool though:
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Especially of the Duomo:
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Then we went back to the campsite to get ready for our Tuscan dinner, and this is where our story goes a little off course. We were supposed to do a group picture before dinner at a really cool look off point, but as soon as we left the campsite it started raining…and then thunder and lightening…and then hail the size of golf balls. In Florence. In August.
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Yep.
IMAG0192-2 Pictured: the view from my bus window.  At 7pm. In Florence.
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So we basically nativigated the flooded roads, which were covered in so much hail it looked like snow, and then we did a mad dash in hastily bought ponchos for 20 min!!! to the restaurant because they wouldn’t refund us and Florence is too narrow for buses. Needless to say we arrived soaked, and I had to take my shoes off to avoid falling, so if I develop a foot thing, I’ll know why!!
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The diner was pretty good – not exactly worth the experience getting there, but at least it gave me a good story!
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And then that story goes a little more off the rails, because its then one of the guys on my tour got hit by a cab, that then backed over him and stayed on his leg until it took off.
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So…warning to travelers about Florence cabs I guess!!
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Needless to say he broke his leg, so someone took him to the hospital and he got some crutches, but I feel really bad because he’s going to cut his trip short in Rome and not come to Greece with us, and I know he wanted to go scuba diving there, so that sucks.
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But yeah, that was the excitement for Florence, and after that we were all pretty alright with the idea of moving on to Rome!

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